The Recipe for Success | Eclectic Cake: The Recipe for Success

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The Recipe for Success

I’m terrible at baking. There have been a few successes in the past with delicious gingerbread and right-shaped cupcakes but generally, there’s something not quite right about the sweet treats that emerge from my oven. Soggy bottoms, dense crumb, you name a Great British Bake Off failing and I’ve done it. 

All this because I’m simply not using the instructions properly. It’s obvious, of course, but when you don’t follow a recipe from start to finish, you’ll end up with something that only partly resembles what you’d planned to make. 

I run the same way I cook.* 


After looking over recipes or training plans to see what’s involved, I think “yep, I can do that”, then never look at them again. It’s not through stupidity or rebellion, I think I just lack the discipline to follow something down to the letter. I know where I’m starting from and what I’m trying to achieve but kind of freestyle the middle bit. 


As I prepare to face my first ultramarathon – my biggest challenge yet – this worries me a little. Is there a correct way to train for a 35-mile race around an island? I tried to follow a plan for three days and it just panicked me. It loomed, issuing guilt when I chose to go mountain biking and skateboarding with friends, rather than do hill intervals. But also tutted at me when I wondered for twelve-miles rather than the prescribed eight.

But this is how I've always run. And, so far, running has always been fun. I like the adventure of it and going out on a Sunday afternoon getting lost until I'm ready for a roast makes me happy. Planning an exact route so I match the digits on a piece of paper just doesn't sound so appealing.



I will, of course, run further and harder as my ultra draws closer but when I feel ready, not when I'm told. Glancing at the training plan, I know roughly what I should be doing. Essentially, though, training is meant to make me prepared for what's to come. Seeing as endurance events are said to be mostly run in your mind, if I think I'm ready, my training will be done. I’m not setting out to win the thing, I just want to complete it.

As long as it’s edible it’s a cake. As long as I finish, I’m an ultra marathoner.

* No, I don't create smoke during both, as my husband assumed reading this.

6 comments :

  1. I think I'm pretty much with you. Training plans are useful, but to quote PotC "Theyre more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6kgS_AwuH0.

    Also I think certainly for ultras, but actually for running in general, keeping the love is more important than keeping to the training guidelines.

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    1. Most definitely! This is my hobby, so it HAS to be fun.

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  2. I haven't followed a training plan for a few years now, they are too general to suit everybody, and I think listening to your body and most importantly continuing to have fun is the way to do it.

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    1. That's reassuring to hear. Fun it definitely top of my list.

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  3. Loved reading this! I've just written a post linking my slightly dodgy cupcakes to my less than perfect running! I think you're absolutely right that enjoying the process is probably more important than following the rules!

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    1. Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it. And how funny, you've also written about the same thing – great minds...

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